tv Campbell Brown CNN April 16, 2010 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT
that was a little scary. >> it's friday, baby. friday, john kink, friday. >> friday it is. pete dominick for us. have a great weekend and we'll see you monday. thanks for spending some time with us tonight and all week long. we'll see you monday. jessica yellin standing bigot rye now in new york. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com >> think, everybody. campbell brown is off tonight. i'm jessica yellin. the story everybody is talking about tonight is of course goldman sachs, the original too big to fail firm. today we found out they're not so much too big to fail as too big to play by the rules. the mega firm was charged with fraud by the s.e.c. we'll dissect exactly how that happened and why with two reporters who have been tracking wall street's golden boys for the last few years. which brings us to a refrain that runs throughout tonight's big stories. the house always wins. from wall street to the vatican, are people in power playing a
game of heads i win, tails you lose? pope benedict called on catholics today to pray for their church in the midst of a growing sexual abuse scandal. but blind faith may not be working as a damage control strategy, even for the church. in a new cnn opinion research poll, 70% of americans said the pope is doing a bad job dealing with the scandal. also tonight, a politician who defies convention and has a talent for burning down the house, jerry brown. he was once known as california's governor moon beam, but will he have the last laugh? all that and more tonight. but we begin with your cheat sheet to the day's top stories, our "mash-up." the top story around the world tonight is of course the iceland volcano that has brought air traffic to a halt over much of europe. >> cost to the airline industries put conservatively at $200 million a day. and officials who coordinate europe's air traffic don't know when things will improve.
>> airport hotels are overflowing. trains are facing unprecedented demand. the eurostar is fully booked until monday, and ferries are turning passengers away. >> front-runner for monday's boston marathon is stuck in paris. the norwegian prime minister is still stuck in new york, running his country from his ipad. >> here in iceland we're used to volcanos. this one, by the way, the last time it went off was in 1821, almost 190 years ago. when it erupted, it lasted two years. they're sure hoping it doesn't last two years this time. >> on twitter, the strand ready venting. no hope on the horizon. stupid volcano. >> nearly two-thirds of flights in europe were canceled today. and the number one story in politics tonight, the war of words between bill clinton and rush limbaugh. earlier today, the former president said words matter, seeming to draw a parallel between right wing talk show hosts in the days before the deadly oklahoma city bombing and today's anti-government protesters. well, that set off limbaugh who
said, quote, bill clinton just gave the kooks out there an excuse to be violent. mr. clinton seemed to back off a bit when he spoke to our wolf blitzer. >> is the rhetoric we're hearing today, i don't know if you want to get into the tea party or what we're generally hearing from a small but very, very vocal group, is that potentially dangerous? >> yes. most of the tea party people, though, are explicitly political. you got to give them that. forget about whether we disagree with them or not. it's really important to be able to criticize your government and criticize elected officials. that never bothered me. most of them have been well within bounds, and they're harsh but limited criticism, that is they're not advocating violence. or encouraging other people to do it. >> the former president will participate in a memorial to 168 people who died in the oklahoma
city bombing 15 years ago. well, we wouldn't normally consider the death of a retired police chief to be a top domestic story. but l.a.'s former top cop daryl gates may have been the most controversial big city chief in modern american history. the rodney king beating happened on his watch. so did the race riots that followed a year later. >> his tough tactics were fiercely criticized after the videotaped police beating of rodney king back in 1991. when the officers were acquitted by an all-white jury, it set off three days of rioting that left 53 people dead in this nation's second largest city. >> we're seeing reginald denny beaten in that intersection, and no one responding that will be with me for the rest of my life. >> during his 14 years as chief, gates also helped develop l.a.'s famed s.w.a.t. team, and a drug prevention program in the schools. >> those who knew him say he cared deeply about policing, and
his death marks the end of an era at the lapd. >> gates retired not long after the riots. he published a best-selling memoir, and for a while he also had a radio talk show. he was 83. the story that's got everybody buzzing around the world in pop culture, it's what might be a case of girl power gone wrong. the new movie "kick ass" has some parents up in arms about its heroin. she is a preteen girl who is ultra violent and potty mouth. >> reporter: in the film the girl uses profanity, break once of the biggest taboos left on screen in addition to doing things to movie villains we can't show on the air. the violence and language have outraged people around the world, like the english film critic who called her, quote, one of the most disturbing icons and damaging role models in the history of cinema. >> the film is extremely violent. and her flippant use of the c-word is unacceptable.
but on the other hand, the fact that this character is able to break out of the box, the norm of what we see for girls and women onscreen, i found that quite empowering and refreshing. >> 13-year-old chloe moretz told cnn her mom approved of her taking that role. that brings us to tonight's punch line courtesy of stephen colbert, who found some humor in "forbes" magazine. check it out. >> a wag of my finger at "forbes" magazine for their release of the forbes fictional 15. an annual list of the richest fictional characters for 2010. richie rich all the way down at number three? that's ridiculous! he has a solid gold fountain that spits out coins and precious jewels. he plays badminton with a net made of cash. he flies a golden plane to his private island shaped like an r. and in one of the later issues,
he paid archie a million dollars to sleep with veronica. >> stephen colbert, everybody. and that's your friday night "mash-up." . well tonight a titan of wall street is in big trouble with the feds, plus former california governor jerry brown joins us, next. hey need it. to help troops see danger, before it sees them. to answer the call of the brave... and bring them safely home. around the globe, the people of boeing are working together, to support and protect all who serve. that's why we're here. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] designed to function the way you function. the lexus rx. ♪ at your lexus dealer.
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with fraud, accusing them of selling clients a bundle of investments, knowing they would likely fail, essentially fixing the game. here is how the s.e.c. says it worked. a goldman sachs vice president, fabrice tourre told investigators they would make a ton of money buying into a portfolio of mortgage securities called abacus. but what he didn't tell them was that another client, a hedge fund, which picking which mortgage investments would go in that portfolio, and they were dog investments. in fact, the hedge fund was betting a ton of money that they would fail. well, sure enough, they did. the hedge fund made a killing. the investors lost big. and according to the government, goldman was orchestrating it all. when the cards are stacked, the house always wins. to discuss this with me now, a familiar face, economist ben stein. he is author of "the bill book of bulletproof investing, do's and don'ts to protect your financial life". and eamon javers for politico, and recent author of
the book "broker, trader, lawyer, spy," the secret world of corporate espionage. you have called for an investigation the way goldman sachs was making money off the mortgage mess a few years ago. so when you heard about the fraud charges today, did you think about time? >> high time. and i'm glad that the s.e.c. finally grew some testicles and decided to take on goldman sachs. it is high time. this has been reported over and over again in "the new york times," and in fortune. and if i may say so, in my column, that they were betraying the trust of their clients, betraying what i think is a fiduciary duty, but certainly a duty of fair dealing with their clients. and high time they got busted on it. they should not be able to get away by hiding behind their bogus good name. >> eamon, right now this is just a civil case there are talks that these aren't criminal charges. could the government up the ante? could someone go to jail? >> these are not criminal
charges at this point. but the s.e.c. was a little bit coy about this in a briefing called with reporters this afternoon. they were asked about this, whether they had referred any of this to the justice department for criminal prosecution. they declined to answer that question. so we may see a series of steps here where we could get to criminal charges. but for now we're looking at civil charges. and i got to tell you, this news really rocked wall street and washington today because it involves two of the most storied firms on wall street, paulson and company has become hugely famous for shorting the subprime market, getting it right when everybody else got it wrong and making billions of dollars. now we're learning a little bit about how they got it so right. >> they got it so right -- they got it so right because the game was so rigged. they couldn't have gotten it right if the game hadn't been so rigged. >> that's the dirty little secret here. >> could have made just as much money if we had known the game. >> explain this a little bit, ben, because it seems like it's just bad business to trade against your own customers. >> it's very bad business.
>> but the question i have is was this clearly illegal, or was this such uncharted terrain because these are new exotic products that there weren't even laws written to cover this yet? >> no, no. fraud is fraud. clearly they lied to their clients. they sthed is a good thing to buy at the same time they were selling it short and helping mere paulson sell it short. so they obviously knew it was not a good thing to buy. they had the guy selling it short pick the mortgage instruments to put into this particular thing, abacus so, he knew which ones were the worst ones. he picked the worst ones, knowing it was going to fail. at least the allegations say it was. it's like selling somebody a house with a defective furnace that you know it's going to explode and then buying fire insurance on the house that pays off for yourself, maybe buying life insurance with yourself as the beneficiary. this just stinks to high heaven and is really shameful. >> the s.e.c. -- i'm sorry, goldman says the accusations are unfounded and they're going to fight them. do you think they have a case? >> well, they'll have the best lawyers in the world working for
them. they'll have incredibly clever, resourceful lawyers. and they will make it a hard fight for the s.e.c. but if the s.e.c. says with it, the restoufrs government are quite large. i think they'll get goldman to a settlement where goldman agrees not to do the same thing. the question is why has not mr. paulson, who was obviously the moving figure in this being sued. that's a mystery to me. >> eamon, let's take a bigger look. the democrats are bringing a financial reform bill to the senate floor. they're hoping to do it next week. tonight there is word the republicans might filibuster. this has to be great ammunition for the democrats, right? >> you can't ignore the political significance of this. it comes at ooh time when we're expecting the bill to pitt hit the floor next week. for obama administration, this is like christmas. it was an astonishing bit of good news because it's an extremely ugly alleged episode up on wall street at a time when they're saying we need to push back against wall street. the president came out today and said senators need to decide whether they're with wall street or whether they're with main street and the rest of america.
so they're framing this very much as an anti-wall street vote. this was very, very good and unexpected news for the obama administration today. >> ben, if you could make your answer short, we don't have much time. the s.e.c. is looking at other firms too. how big could this blow up on wall street? >> it could blow up very big. the double dealing here could be very, very big, and the republicans are making a huge mistake fighting against this bill. >> all right, thanks to both of you. we'll hear a lot more about this in the days to come, and we'll talk more about goldman sachs with california's attorney general, jerry brown. also, the catholic sexual abuse scandal. an american priest who says pope benedict should quit, in a moment.
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today's wall street bombshell, the fraud charges against goldman sachs, could be felt all the way to the west coast. earlier today, i checked in with california's top law enforcement official, attorney general jerry brown. we talked about goldman sachs and also about his new investigation into the controversy surrounding sarah palin's recent speaking gig at cal state. let me start first with today's news. the s.e.c. is going after
goldman sachs for bets that they helped investors place essentially subprime mortgages. in california you are the head law enforcement official there. so your take on this. will regulators asleep at the switch here? >> oh, no question. regulators let people get away with murder, with the massive meltdown, the biggest i guess in world history. it went all the way around the world. so it's not just this case, it's a whole variety of cases. and people in positions like i am, attorney general, we're being stymied by federal laws and rules that often block the attorney general from enforcing anti-fraud statutes based on state law. so this was, i think, you could say fairly the biggest bank robbery in the history of america. and somebody, somebody has to be responsible. we need an accountability on the part of those who have such
power, and who don't discharge it with the prudence and the wisdom that american citizens have a right to expect. >> let's turn to something else making headlines this week. that's sarah palin. as we mentioned going into the segment, you're investigating a california school, cal state university that invited the former governor to speak but wouldn't disclose the terms of her contract. give us a sense what is this about and why does it merit the attention of the attorney general? >> well, this is just one college among others whose foundations are now under scrutiny by my office. we want to make sure that charitable foundations do what the rules require. and that's the basis of our investigation. not that sarah palin or michael moore or anybody else controversial comes into the campus. is the foundation connected with this state college following the rules of charitable trusts. and as attorney general, my job is to make sure that's happening, and that's the basis of our investigation.
>> okay. let me turn to another focus of your attention these days, the governor's race. your likely republican opponent there meg whitman has already pumped a remarkable $59 million of her own money into this race. >> yes. >> she is vowing to spend so much more. she is blanketing the airways with commercials, as you know. she is ahead of you in the polls. how do you build momentum against her at this time? what's your plan? >> well, going to the people. i would say it's remarkable if you look at all the polls, the race is about dead-even. and i virtually spent nothing. and by the way, the unfavorability for her is rising as well. so we have plenty of time between now and november. i have a case to make. i voted in every election during the time i was governor, during eight years, 1.9 million jobs were created. i am strongly committed to getting our economy better, protecting the environment, and fixing our schools. and i'll make that case.
she'll make hers. hopefully there will be some debates, and we'll get to november and the people will be able to make a very informed choice. >> to get a preview of what might come, let me play a sampling of attack ads she has aired against her primary opponent. >> steve poizner, desperate, dishonest and way more liberal than he says he is. poizner and pelosi on taxes, they're two of a kind. >> those are pretty damning ads. how do you plan to go up against attacks like those when they come your way? >> we'll be able to present a case of truth, a case of i believe honest straight talk to the voters of the state. and quite frankly, there is a lot of things to say about the needs of our state, and making up stuff on the opponent is pretty silly. i think the voters don't want attack ads, you know. a billionaire trying to buy this thing. but debates, honest conversation, and let's hear what the differences are, because they're real, and the voters have a right to know about them. so they can make that informed
choice come november. >> so were you saying you'll vow to run a campaign with no attack ads? >> no. i don't know where you drew that conclusion. i said i'm going to straight talk. i'm going to talk to the issues. but there is stuff, you know, that ms. whitman is concealing. you have to ask yourself. why would someone who basically never voted in an election before, maybe once or twice in her whole life would run for governor, first public office she ever cared about and want to buy the airwaves. is it because she doesn't want the news and the people to really get into a background which when the voters find out about it, i think they're going to find it shocking. >> all right, mr. attorney general. always enjoy talking to you. we'll look forward to continuing the conversation as the campaign continues. thanks for being with us. >> okay, me too. look forward to it. thanks. and coming up, as pope benedict prepares for his first foreign trip since the recent sexual abuse scandal, a priest
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just yesterday, in a rare reference to the scandal, the pope called for penitence for the church's since. but for some, penitence is not enough. mary snow talks to one american priest who now says the pope must step down. >> mighty father forever and ever. >> reporter: as he offers prayers, father james scahill is calling for punishment over sexual abuse cases involving priests. he says church leaders who covered up abuse felons and takes direct aim at pope benedict. >> he should stand for the truth. >> reporter: does that mean stepping down? >> if he can't do it, if he can't take the consequences of being truthful on this matter, his integrity should lead him for the good of the church to step down and to have the conclave of cardinals elect a pope with the understanding that that elected pope would be willing to take on this issue transparently, not just in promise, but in fact.
>> reporter: scahill says he doesn't understand why so few of his fellow priests haven't spoken out about the abuse scandals. sexual abuse scandals have haunted this massachusetts community. in 2004, the bishop of the springfield diocese resigned and was later indicted on molestation charges. but he was never prosecuted. you were one priest in one parish, how much influence can you have? >> one voice listened to can accomplish more than people might realize. >> it's patty at st. michaels. do you have messages? >> reporter: the phones have kept ring at st. michaels since sunday's mass when father scahill delivered his sharp words. he says the majority of the messages have been supportive, but not all. last month a senior vatican official said the pope had displayed wisdom and courage when he was a cardinal with responsibility for reviews sexual abuse cases. father scahill agrees the vatican has made progress, but only after scandals were exposed
in the media. >> the church is trying to do the right thing. but any healthy institution has to have a healthy, strong, secure foundation. and i believe all of these efforts are being built on a garbage heap of denials and cover-ups. get rid of the garbage. confess to the garbage. build a healthy foundation from the ground up. >> reporter: i asked father scahill about whether he fears losing his job because he has been so outspoken, and he does. even though he has been an outspoken critic for years, he says it has been very stressful for him to take this stand, and that he does not see himself as a rebel. mary snow, cnn, new york. and coming up, the pope under attack and taking some big hits over priest abuse. why is he having such a hard time saying he is sorry. ing, 365-horsepower-generating, ecoboost engine in the taurus sho from ford. that has the thirst of a v6 with the thrust of a v8.
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there is more evidence tonight that the priest abuse scandal is battering the pope and the catholic church. according to a new cnn opinion research poll, 56% of american catholics disapprove of the way the pope has handled the abuse problem, and 74% don't like how the church overall has dealt with it. so how can the pope turn things around? let's bring in father jim martin. he is the culture editor of "america" magazine and the author of the jesuit guide to almost everything. and lisa miller, "newsweek's" magazine religion editor and
author of "heaven, our enduring fascination with the after life." thanks to both of you for being here. >> good to be here. >> father, let's start with you. the pope is taking a trip to malta there is calls for him to meet with the men who allege abuse. we don't know if he will. the question is should he? >> well, i think he always should try to apologize. the question is whether or not they're going to allow him to fit it into his schedule. but i think any opportunity for the pope or any bishop to apologize to victims of abuse is a good thing. >> let me put the same thing to you, lisa. if they could fit into it his schedule, really? >> i were advising the pope, i would say fly to ireland, land there, say you're sorry as many times as you possibly can. that's where 15,000 kids were abused. and make as big an effort as you can to show penitence. >> so yesterday, i'll ask you, father, the pope said that we as christians, i want to read the quote exactly realize that it's necessary to repent. we as christians need to repent. why is he so vague? and do you think he needs to
come right out and say we take responsibility. i take responsibility? >> absolutely. i think it's important to not speak in sort of vague generalities, but to apologize, you know, for what he has done, if he has done anything that has been improper. in terms of handling these cases. but more specifically, the bishops that move priests around need to say i'm sorry and need to, as the pope said, do real penance, resignations, something that is public that will show people that they are truly sorry. a real sign of penance is very important. >> so mass resignations do. you agree? >> i agree. i also think that america has a really good precedent for us. this happened to us eight years ago. we have protocols we have disciplines, audits, ways of dealing with this. and if the vatican would look to the american church and ask americans for help. that would be doing themselveses a big favor. >> let me back up and ask another question. i'm a political reporter. i cover washington. i'm used to people dealing with scandal and the 101 is confess, apologize, be up-front.
is part of the problem here that this vatican has a tin ear when it comes to pr? >> i definitely. i was talking to a pr guy about this yesterday. this is more than a pr problem. this is a management problem. these guys are too decentralized and they're not talking to each other. they need to fix their management problem and then they'll get rid of their pr problem. >> father, is there more than pr here? is there a problem with a bunker mentality inside the vatican, and if so, is it possible to change? >> i think it is possible the change. it will take a long time. thing is what you would call a clerical culture there is a culture that for many years, for centuries has put the concerns of priests sometimes over the concerns of the most vulnerable. we saw that when bishops weren't listening to victims and victims families, and privileging the priests sometimes. so you have to change this whole clerical culture, and you have to open it up, make it less about power and less about secrecy. >> how do you do that? >> with great difficulty, particularly because you have so many of these bishops and cardinals who were trained in a particular way to think of the church as sort of sinless and to
avoid scandal at every cost, which means they try to set some of these things aside. with great difficulty. but i want to say that all the bishops and archbishops that i know are horrified by this and want to change it. it's just a question of changing the culture. >> moving the bureaucracy too. let me ask you, lisa. you have written about women in the church. this is a topic we've heard a lot about. how do you think this would have been handled differently, or would the abuse even have occurred to this extent if women were in power? >> i firmly believe that more women in the culture, and not necessarily priests. well can leave aside the question of women's ordination. but more women in the culture as powerful leaders in the hierarchy, as chancellors and diocese, with positions of power would have exposed these guys to family and kids and, you know, the kind of messiness that happens when you're not all the same and you're not all thinking the same way. so i think that would have made a big improvement. >> all right. thanks for being here. father martin, thanks to both of you. and still ahead, the tea
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members of the obama administration turned out in droves the past few days for al sharpton's annual convention on racial equality. today housing secretary sean donovan was there to remind the crowd of the white house efforts to help minorities just as secretaries arne duncan and kathleen sebelius had done earlier this week. it is a hot button issue with some blasting the president for not doing enough. but sharpton doesn't agree. instead he says he is shaping a new generation of leaders empowered to help themselves. joining us now are temeka mallory, the director of national action network and kevin lyles, media executive and author of "make it happen." thanks to both of you for being here. temeka, i would like to first start with you. let's listen to something your boss said at the conference. >> we must let generations know that dr. king is not just something of the past, a dream he started must be updated, the
challenges must be dealt with each time. and we're dealing with the civil rights and human rights issues of our time. >> all right. so you're a young woman, obviously. you're an emerging civil rights leader. how do you think your issues, your goals and strategy will differ from reverend sharpton's, and even from the generation he represented? >> well, there is a lot that differs. reverend sharpton comes out of a generation of more people who had to protest, sit-ins, and all of that. but this generation is more of the bloggers, the writers, those that really do use the pen, the pad, and the thought process to organize. so it's a little difficult. but at the same time, i don't think it differs that much. i think that it is really an extension of. i mean every generation has to sort of modernize and move to the next level, sort of step to whatever the time requires. and so that's what we're doing. but i think it's all a connection. it's all an extension. >> all right. kevin, let me ask you. you can't have a conversation about the next generation of black leaders without talking about president obama.
so it's a big question. but how has he changed the equation? >> i think he changed the equation because he is about the possibility. he is not about what is impossible, you know. for so long we were told what we can't do. and he said you can do it. now if we can have an african-american president now, if we can have a leader, and we can have other leaders who have shown us the way. you know, we can have a say, dick parsons or a stanley o'neal, any of those guys, that's giving us inspiration, you know. billionaires from obama and billionaire bob johnson, these guys are giving us inspiration. and barack has shown us that it's possible. we are a visual generation. so we want to see it be possible, not just hear it be possible. >> temeka, i covered capitol hill. some members of the black caucus have been rather hard on barack obama, saying he should be doing nor more. do you agree? >> i think president barack obama has done a lot for our community. just in the health care bill, it wasn't just for whites or
asians, it was all for all people. and we obviously are a group that needs it the most. so i think that president obama has done a lot. i think with the -- with his bill for black colleges, for students to be able to attend african-american institutions, very important. i mean, that is something that we need to take advantage of. rather than us being the complainers, we need to be the doers and use whatever is at our disposable and use to it our interests. >> kevin, let me put the same question to you. tavis smiley, the radio host has said the president needs to have a more focused black agenda. do you agree? >> i think he needs to have an agenda to better america. i think his agenda, every single day, you talk about health care. it's not just health care for fermgs. it's health care for all. you talk about education. for one all. circumstances he targeting issues that particularly relate to the african-american community? for example, the way the economy and the recession has disproportionately hurt african-americans. should he be talking about those sorts of things more?
>> i think he has a responsibility to everybody. and i think it's unfair because he is an african-american president to put the pressures for one race on him. and i tell you something. hbcus, they get $850 million over the next ten years. >> those are historically black colleges. >> yes, historically black colleges. and you look at what is happening with health care reform. you know, my kids, now until they turn 26, they can be helped out by the health care reform bill. and then you take it a step further. we are generation e. we have to stop blaming of people. he sets policy. but we got to get into execution. we have to be entrepreneurs. >> i know you met with president obama just a few weeks ago, you were with beyonce and jay-z. what did the president tell you when you met with him? >> he said we have issues. one of the biggest things is census 2010. have we done enough? have we let people know that by filling out your census, can change your neighborhood, can put in recreation center in your
neighborhood, redistrict the schools and things that will help your particular neighborhood. i think that the census 2010 is important, and i think that what we need to do is stop thinking about just endorsing things and actually get into commerce. well need to invest in ourselves. we are a generation. and jessica, sorry if i interrupt you. we are a generation based on making it happen. we took nick. s and made a $14 billion. we're not waiting for him to actually tell what's to do. >> kevin liles, thank you so much for being with us. tech mika, thank you for time. coming up, pushback for president obama, this time on his nuclear energy program. why one georgia town says its reactors are literally killing them. our in-depth report next. youtube didn't exist. and facebook was still run out of a dorm room. when we built our first hybrid, more people had landlines than cell phones, and gas was $1.75 a gallon. and now, while other luxury carmakers
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president obama's big push for nuclear energy brings us to a small town not used to being in the spotlight. shell bluff in burt county, georgia, where there are already two nuclear reactors. the president hopes for two new reactors to be built there, but there is a problem. people in shell bluff say they're afraid of having more reactors built. abbie boudreau has spent time with the people there. abbie, how do they know if they're safe or not? >> jessica, that's what the community wants to find out. and they want someone to figure out why the cancer rates are so high. shell bluff already has two
reactors. and on top of that, it's across the river from an old nuclear weapons plant, which is a superfund toxic site. we went to shell bluff for a full 24 hours where the ground has already been broken for the new reactors, and let the people there voice their concerns. these are the first reactors being built in the united states in nearly 30 years. we're about to meet this one woman. this is annie laura stevens. and she is actually here with her brother who recently passed away. she lives in shell bluff. and she has concerns about the two new reactors, as well as the two existing reactors that are in her town. shell bluff is located in burke county, georgia. its cancer death rate is 51% higher than the national average. according to the centers for disease control. >> come in. >> hi! >> hi. >> i'm abbie. >> hello, abbie.
how are you doing? >> nice to meet you. >> thank you. nice to meet you too. >> reporter: right away she introduces us to a local reverend. he knew we were here doing a story on the reactors. he is concerned about his congregation. >> you hear there is a lot of cancer, related cancer, maybe respiratory and circulatory things that is going on with them. why is there so much in such a small population? >> reporter: this community fears contamination from both the nearby nuclear power plant and an old nuclear weapons facility. a superfund toxic site across the river. in 1991, the national cancer institute studied all counties near nuclear facilities, and found no increased risk for cancer. but another study in 2007 focused only on burke county. it found that since the reactors have been built, cancer rates have risen by 25%. but the study doesn't say why. earlier i show you'd the picture of annie laura's brother hiram,
who died of cancer in 2008. after we left the church, we met hiram's wife, janie. >> why, you know. how could -- i mean, you know, for him to be the type man he was, how could this just happen like that, and so quick. >> reporter: i talked to a few people at the bible study who said they didn't want the new reactors in. how did you feel? >> well, i don't think anybody really want them. >> reporter: why not? >> i mean, because they're right on top of us. >> reporter: do you think the president has done enough to make sure that people like you are safe before new reactors are built? >> probably don't even know we're here. >> that's exactly right. >> he doesn't know we're down here. don't have a name for it. >> reporter: we're back at annie laura's house. she showed us this emergency information pamphlet about what they need to do in case there is some sort of leak at plant
vocal, which is the nuclear plant in town. and we were looking at it, and noticed that she circled her evacuation route. and next to it she says "have mercy upon us all." the nuclear regulatory commission allows power plants to monitor themselves to see if they're contaminating the environment. both the nrc and the plant's operator say the facility is safe. it's the morning of day two here in shell bluff. we're headed over the church right now. i think that more people are realizing that cnn is in town. and people are sort of reaching out, wanting to talk and tell their stories. >> we had protests, and we voiced our opinion, and we didn't want them, but it's just, you know -- we're just the little peons. >> this is after she had cancer. >> reporter: the people we
talked to are concerned that people in their family are getting sick and even dying from cancer. but they're not saying that it's caused. they're not saying the cancer is caused from the reactors. they're just concerned, and they have questions about why so many of their family members are dying from cancer. >> not only the older folks. you're talking about the young folks are dying with cancer, throat cancer, stomach cancer. and it's from what, the food? water? is it in the air? >> reporter: we're about to meet with a couple of the guys who do environmental testing at nuclear sites throughout the state of georgia. i'm abbie. >> jim somerville. nice to meet you. >> hi, abbie. nice to meet you. >> reporter: all this stuff is for your environmental testing. >> all this stuff is for environmental testing. >> reporter: and now it's sitting here in a warehouse or what? >> most of this equipment was taken out of service at the end of 2004. >> reporter: okay. >> when our federal funding ran out. >> reporter: and how much federal funding do you get? >> right now none.
>> reporter: nothing? >> nothing. >> reporter: hardman says they're still doing environmental monitoring around the reactors, and he does feel they're safe. how is anybody supposed to do a long-term health study on people in shell bluff? >> that's a good question. i don't have a good answer to it. >> reporter: okay. >> i really don't. you can't do that kind of study unless you've got the data to base it on. otherwise you're speculating as to what might be there or what might not. >> reporter: we're leaving here with so many questions. who is watching out for these people? where is the government accountability? they want there to be a long-term health study, and they don't understand why no one is knocking on their door asking for blood samples or hair samples or whatever the case may be. why no one is testing their well water. and those interest kinds of things they're hope willing happen before two new reactors are built in their community. just days after leaving shell
bluff, we talked to the department of energy about what we learned. since then, the department now plans to reinstate its federal funding to the state of georgia for independent environmental monitoring. the money will officially be designated to the superfund toxic site across the river. but depending upon how much funding the state gets will determine the amount of additional testing that can be done in other parts of this community. and we also talked to the chairman of the nuclear regulatory commission, and the agency now says it's commissioning a new national health study to reexamine the cancer risks for people living near nuclear power plants. they say that study will get started some time this summer. this is all good news for the people who live in shell bluff. jessica? >> thanks, abbie. "larry king live" starts in just a few minutes. but first, grounded by an ash cloud and desperate to get home. we'll take you on a wild ride across europe, up next. some lunch.
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finally tonight, that volcano ash cloud over europe may have brought air traffic to a stand still, but it couldn't stop our intrepid colleague jeff hill. a producer in london, jeff has been on assignment in poland since last weekend. but of course today he was called back. naturally, with flights all grounded, getting home would be just a bit tricky. but undaunted, jeff set his sights as close to london as he could get. determined to make it by any means necessary. >> reporter: okay, i'm at warsaw's central station now. i'm going to try to get a train
to berlin and hopefully get another train from berlin on to london. the queue is about a mile long. i spoke to a guy from england. he is trying to get back to bristol. he was here since 6:00 this morning waiting five hours to get a train. i haven't got that much time. i'm going to catch a cab to get to berlin can i catch a taxi to berlin? how much would that be? >> 2,200? yes, that's find. finally, i'm leaving poland behind, which is something i thought i was going do yesterday, actually. until all the planes were grounded. oh, thank you. wow. so finally here after nearly nine hours in a cab. the good news is that it feels like i've done a really big chunk of the journey. but the bad news is is the there is still such a long way to go. tomorrow i can pray for the skies to be clear so i c